Friday, October 15, 2010

How to get the Umpire to give you an edge - Conclusion

In my last post, I said the way to not get the Umpire to give you an edge is to be a jackass.   So how do you get him on your side?  Easy.  Don't be a jackass.  Seriously.  A lot of Coaches do not treat  Umpires with respect, are constantly complaining (even if subtly ... by telling their pitchers "that pitch looked good from here", the Umpire knows that is just the Coach's way of saying "Hey Ump - you screwed up again" without getting tossed), and will argue rule points they don't understand (I can't tell you how many times Coaches tried telling me I placed a runner on a wrong base on an overthrow because he should get  "one and one").   So if the opposing Coach is making himself heard, your best course of action is to
smile and don't say anything.  The Umpire might not give you the edge on any close calls (they can't really), but they will be sure to look for infractions on the other team that are subtle enough and could otherwise be missed (e.g. balks, obstruction, stepping out of the batter's box on a bunt etc.).
In one example I was involved in as a Coach, a batter had 2 strikes on him and swings and misses at the next pitch, which bounces and gets away from the catcher.  I yelled at him to run.  The Umpire says it's only Strike 2. I yell at my player to run again, and he shakes his head and stands there.  The ball gets thrown back to the pitcher and the opposing Coach calls time and asks the Ump to check the count with the scorekeeper.  Yep, it was Strike 3, my batter is out.  So I walk up to the plate and ask him for an explanation, and he sheepishly says he's sorry but he forgot the count.  I say "well, you probably shouldn't have said anything when I told my batter to run".  And my batter chimes in, "Yeah,  I coulda beat that throw for sure".  Well, my batter's waist size was bigger than his height, so I just laughed and said "no way, in hell you could have gotten there, so it really doesn't matter".  The Umpire kind of chuckled too, shrugged his shoulders and I walked away.   I could have made a big deal about it.  The Umpire screwed up and he knew he did, but (1) it made no difference, my batter would have been out anyways, (2) the Umpire couldn't have changed the call anyhow, without the other team protesting the game, and (3) me showing up the Umpire sure as heck wasn't going to help my team the rest of the way.  So I let it go, and when I had that same Umpire in future games, he remembered the way I treated him, and listened much more attentively when I went out to speak to him, and I'm sure he made some calls on our opponents that he might not have, if I had shown him up.

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